John Gossage: The Thirty-Two Inch Ruler/Map of Babylon
Published by Steidl/ICP.
Essays by John Gossage, Gerhard Steidl.
John Gossage, the renowned American photographer and photo book artist, here presents two companion volumes bound together, as well as his first-ever books in color. Engaged in a dance, neither book comes first, and there is no hierarchy or sequence to the pair. Gossage is one of the most literary of photographic book authors and in The Thirty-Two Inch Ruler, the narrative, while not autobiographical, is about a neighborhood in which he lives; one that is singular in the United States. At the same time provincial and international, it is a neighborhood populated by ambassadorial residences, embassies and the lavish private homes of those who are in positions of power and influence in Washington, D.C. Gossage began this project with the arrival of a new neighbor, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and made more than a year's cycle of seasons. The streets, cars, homes and yards of this neighborhood are photographed on perfect spring or autumn days, with sparklingly clear blue skies and flowers or foliage accenting the order. During that same year, Gossage made The Map of Babylon, photographing digitally from Washington, D.C. to Germany, China and places in-between. This look away, to places beyond the immediate and local, is a classic exploration of the particulars of the outside world.